The best pillows for stomach sleepers in 2022, tested by us

While stomach sleeping may not be the optimal sleep position — it’s difficult or impossible to find the ideal neutral position for your neck and spine — for some people, sleeping any other way is difficult. And if you do prefer to sleep on your stomach, you deserve a comfortable, supportive pillow too.

To find the best pillows for stomach sleepers, we searched for pillows that claimed they were for stomach sleepers and spoke with doctors and researchers who study sleep positions and pillows to find answers on the best shapes, firmness and fill for those who sleep that way. Finally, we brought in seven pillows to test and found four great pillows.

And if you don’t sleep on your stomach, we’ve got you covered with the best pillows overall.

Best pillow for stomach sleepers overall

The Saatva pillow was a favorite, supportive enough while squishy and malleable in the best way. The outer layer is filled with down-alternative fibers and a removable inner core made of shredded latex is completely encased so the fill doesn’t spill out.

Best firm pillow for stomach sleepers

For stomach sleepers who prefer a firm pillow, the Brooklinen Marlow pillow has a dense yet light feel with plenty of support.

Best soft pillow for stomach sleepers

While a firm pillow is recommended for stomach sleeping, if you like a slightly softer feel, you’ll love the Casper Hybrid pillow. The rectangular shape was a favorite in testing, and it comes in low or regular loft to suit different preferences and body frames.

Best adjustable pillow for stomach sleepers

This firm yet bouncy Layla pillow is made with shredded memory foam and kapok fiber. With firm support and soft feel, it is adjustable so sleepers can make it as soft or firm as they prefer.

Saatva latex pillow best stomach sleeper underscored

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

In our testing, we found the Saatva latex pillow soft and fluffy, yet supportive. An outer layer is filled with down-alternative fibers and a removable inner core is filled with shredded latex. The inner core is encased so it’s easy to take out without having shredded fill spill everywhere as can happen with other adjustable pillows. The downside: It’s not completely customizable (you can’t add or remove fill), so you can only adjust the pillow by removing the inner core. Luckily, we found this pillow most comfortable for stomach sleeping with the inner core removed, which emphasized its squishiness and malleability.

The Saatva pillow is only available in queen or king sizes, so be aware it may not fit well in standard pillowcases. That said, it comes with a removable, washable organic cotton outer cover, making it easy to keep clean.

Saatva offers a 45-day return policy so if you don’t love the pillow you don’t have to keep it.

Brooklinen Marlow best stomach sleeper underscored

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

The Brooklinen Marlow pillow is extremely firm — our tester compared it to sleeping on a sandbag, but in the best way. So if you love an extremely firm pillow, you’ll love this pillow for its very dense yet light feel. If you find this pillow too firm, the side zippers open gussets that allow more give to make the pillow softer, though we found the difference in feel was minimal.

Unfortunately, this pillow is spot-clean only, so you’ll want to make sure to use a pillowcase to protect it. If you’re prone to spills or heavy sweating you may even want a pillow protector.

The Marlow comes in standard and king sizes and was one of the less pricey options among our top picks. Brooklinen also has a generous 365-day return policy, so you can try it for a while and return it if it doesn’t work for you.

Casper Hybrid best stomach sleeper underscored

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

We loved this pillow for side and back sleeping, so we were surprised that it was also a great for stomach sleeping. The rectangular shape gives this pillow a slight raise and is exactly what our stomach sleeper looks for when it comes to pillows.

This pillow is not extra-firm, so if you like a slightly softer pillow you’ll love the Casper Hybrid. It’s squishy thanks to the synthetic fill and surrounding memory foam, yet the molded foam helps it keep its shape. It’s a good choice if you’re a hot sleeper too — while testing we also found we didn’t overheat like with other foam pillows, since this pillow has holes throughout for ventilation.

It comes in two heights, regular with a 2-inch gusset and low-loft with a 1.25-inch gusset. Casper has a quiz you can take to help determine which loft height is right for you and we found that the low-loft version was a good size for stomach sleeping. It comes with a removable and machine-washable cover and Casper offers a 30-night return policy.

Layla kapok best stomach sleeper underscored

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

This pillow from Layla is made with shredded memory foam and the fibers from the seeds of the kapok tree, which feel similar to a mix between wool and cotton. We also found that the pillow has a firm and slightly bouncy feel. Like many other pillows, the firmness level can be adjusted by removing or adding fill and we appreciated that we could adjust it to our liking.

The Layla pillow has a unique honeycomb cover that feels plush and very luxe. While this was a favorite pillow for stomach sleeping, it may need some adjusting through the night as the fill tends to move around.

It comes in queen and king sizing only, so it won’t fit in a standard pillow case, but the cover is machine-washable. Layla offers a 120-night trial if you decide it’s not the right pillow for you.

While we have done our best to find the best pillows overall, all of the experts we spoke with agreed that there is not a single perfect pillow that will work for everyone. Dr. Andrew Varga, neuroscientist and physician at The Mount Sinai Integrative Sleep Center, emphasizes that “there is limited, if any, scientific evidence regarding pillow types.”

More vexing for those who sleep on their stomachs, whether for comfort, to avoid snoring or just out of habit is that it’s “almost impossible to achieve a neutral neck in this position,” according to Varga. However, for some, sleeping any other way is nearly impossible, so when choosing a pillow, you’ll want to make sure you choose one that puts the least strain on your neck.

This means it can be especially challenging for those who sleep on their stomachs to find a great pillow.

While a pillow labeled for a “stomach sleeper” may not work for everyone since pillows are very personal, we found that the labeling gives a good starting point when shopping for the right pillow. Most pillows recommended for stomach sleepers are softer and flatter than back- and side-sleeper pillows. Below are tips on what to look for when shopping.

Stomach sleepers will want to look for a thin, firm pillow, says Josh Tal of Josh Tal & Associates Sleep and Health Psychotherapists. The head needs to be just slightly elevated to keep the spine in a neutral position, but not so high that the neck is out of alignment.

Fill and firmness

Out of the common types of fill (shredded foam or latex, down, down alternative and molded foam), stomach sleepers will want a fill that’s firmer such as memory foam, latex or packed down. If you’re a stomach sleeper that sleeps off to the side of the pillow, Tal recommends a medium firmness.

Susan J. Gordon research professor at the Flinders University College of Nursing and Health Sciences in Adelaide, Australia, who has studied the effect of pillow types in relation to sleep quality and their effect on waking back and neck pain, recommends laying on a pillow for at least 15 minutes to try it out. That’s the time it takes for the body to fully settle so you’ll know whether or not the pillow is right for you.

Since one pillow will not work for everyone, make sure to check the brand’s return policy. Many brands offer a trial period or returns, but some brands do not allow you to return the pillow. You’ll want to choose a pillow with a good return policy so you can return it if it doesn’t work for you, unless you’re willing to risk being stuck with it.

After narrowing down our list to the most popular pillows and brands, we slept on each for a minimum of two nights, noting factors like durability and comfort. We evaluated each using the following criteria:

  • Comfort: After using each pillow for a few nights, we judged how comfortable each pillow was to sleep on, noting if we had to make adjustments throughout the night and if the pillow fell flat or retained a lot of heat .
  • Durability: In order to assess the durability of each pillow, we washed and dried each pillow twice, if applicable, according to the manufacturer’s care instructions. If the pillow indicated it was not machine-washable, we washed the cover where possible. We evaluated each pillow for how much it flattened or changed shape after washing and sleeping on it. We also looked at the overall appearance of the pillow after wash and use and noted if anything broke in the process.
  • Ease of cleaning: For each pillow we scored it on how easily and if it could be cleaned, taking into account if it’s machine-washable, dry clean, spot clean or not washable at all.
  • Firmness options: We looked at how many firmness options are available for each pillow and if it can be adjusted to anyone’s fill preference, which makes it more likely you’ll be able to find the right fit for you.
  • Trial and return policy: Since pillows are highly personal, we also scored each pillow brand on its trial policy, whether or not you could test it out and how many days you had to return it.

This soft pillow from Garnet Hill keeps its shape throughout the night and was one of the better down-alternative pillows we tested, giving a plush and supportive feel. It’s washable and comes in three firmness levels. While we ordered the soft firmness level for our stomach sleeper, they still found it too full to sleep on and had to stop using it. If you still want to try it out, Garnet Hill also has a 90-day return policy.

This was one of the most budget-friendly pillows that we tested, and while we loved it for side and back sleepers, it didn’t make the cut for stomach sleepers. Our tester found these too filled and fluffy for sleeping on their stomach. It can be machine-washed but the care instructions recommend letting it air dry, which can take more than half a day.

We thought this pillow would be good for stomach sleepers, since Amazon Basics recommends it for stomach or back sleepers due to the soft nature of the pillow. It was one of the flatter pillows we tested, which makes it good for stomach sleepers, and was very fluffy at first. After sleeping on it for a few nights, our tester found the filling was moving too much while they slept.

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